The House on Selkirk Avenue: Reviews

The House on Selkirk Avenue by Irena Karafilly: A wonderfully readable novel – Great characters, setting, and plot.”

Richard King, CBC Homerun

“A coming-of-middle-age novel. A really beautiful story!”

Kerry Clare, CBC Radio Ontario Morning

“A strikingly-rendered portrait of Montreal in all its complexities, and of a woman who is equally complicated. Can we ever revisit the past and come away unscathed? Can we examine our previous choices and make peace with ourselves – both past and present? … Karafilly has written a powerful novel that addresses these questions with sensitivity, acumen and an artist’s eye for capturing the truth that lives in our hidden selves.”

Kelly Beers, Bibliobroads

“Irena Karafilly’s new novel, The House on Selkirk Avenue, is a mesmerizing trip along the streets of Montreal and across decades of the experience of its protagonist, who has returned to the city of her youth. What happens when the places where we once belonged—and the people we once belonged to—don’t belong to us anymore?”

Kerry Clare, 49th Shelf

The House on Selkirk Avenue is a reflection upon many things—aging, memory, the unpredictable and uncontrollable ways life is directed and changed, regret … Karafilly has chosen a moment in time both dramatic and symbolic to create multiple resonances as she slowly drops each of Kate’s memories into the deepening narrative … We all remember. We all regret. We all have to live with our choices. And at times, we look back and question those choices. What Karafilly has done is to give us a window on the emotional turmoil that questioning brings.”

Timothy Niedermann, Ottawa Review of Books

“… always, ever-present in this carefully crafted and engaging story, are regrets, the what-if’s that can overtake one’s thoughts during mid-life reflections … This is not a political book. The October crisis comes into play because of Kate’s relationship with a Québécois whose involvement leading to his arrest, like most of those detained in real life, turns out to be peripheral. But it had a profound effect on his relationship with Kate … Most of the narrative is set in Montreal, and readers will enjoy walking with the protagonist as she navigates the streets that are still there, and back to the times when Guillaume, a talented cellist from a poor east-end family, was part of Kate’s life.”

Irwin Block, The Senior Times

“Set in Montreal in 1998, The House on Selkirk Avenue finds its heroine Kate looking back nearly 30 years to the unresolved end of a relationship she had with Guillaume, an aspiring classical musician … The novel’s historical dimension—the events of October 1970 play a crucial part—provides an added undercurrent, investing the narrative with a set of loaded questions: What happened to the revolution? Furthermore, what happens to old revolutionaries? Reading Karafilly’s account, we can better understand how a generation of young Québécois were politicized and even radicalized—even when, as in the case of Guillaume, they had been essentially apolitical.”

Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette